Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales is under fire for kissing Spain star Jennifer Hermoso.
The country’s all-time leading goalscorer for Barcelona and Spain women’s teams was beaming as she went up to collect her World Cup winners medal following the 1-0 win over the Lionesses.
But rather than the focus being on Spain’s women making history and winning the World Cup for the first time, fans were left alarmed as they watched the Spanish Football Federation president kiss Hermoso on the lips.
Footage shows Rubiales – who was stood alongside the Spanish royal family – grabbing the back of Hermoso’s head before planting a kiss on her as she walked past towards the podium.
When asked about the moment on her Instagram live stream following the victory, Hermoso said she ‘did not enjoy that’.
Salma Paralelluelo’s Instagram live showed Rubiales entering the dressing room after the trophy lift, and has been reported to have said ‘the FA will pay for a trip to Ibiza’ where he ‘will marry Hermoso’.
He was also seen kissing match winner Olga Carmona – who was told her father passed away after the game – on the cheek.
Radio Marca also report that Rubiales responded to the incident by describing it as ‘two people showing each other a minor show of affection’ and labelled questions over his conduct as ‘idiocy’.
In comments given to AFP by the Spanish FA regarding the podium kiss, Hermoso is quoted saying: “It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings.
“The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”
But fans who witnessed the moment being broadcast around the world have taken a different view.
“Would he kiss a male player like this? This is NOT ok,” former England, Arsenal and Chelsea player Casey Stoney wrote on Twitter.
“The concerning fact here is the nonchalant manner Rubiales behaves towards Hermoso” a fan said. “The FA president does this on the biggest stage of the sport with royalty and officials near him, surrounded by cameras.
“Very disturbing, and frankly, concerning.”
A third added: “For Luis Rubiales to do this to Jenni Hermoso during the proudest moment of her career, stood next to Spain’s royal family, and with the world’s media watching, makes me sick.
“The complete audacity. Reminder that this is the leader of a federation that failed to back its players.”
Despite lifting the World Cup this summer, Spain were marred by controversy heading into the tournament.
Last year, 15 of their players refused to play for manager Jorge Vilda, citing issues with his tactics, training methods and style of management.
Vilda labelled the accusations as ‘unjust’ and the Spanish FA stood in support of him.
Only three players of those 15 returned for the tournament, Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey and Ona Batlle.
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